Maximizing Flavour, Minimizing Cost: Your Guide to Storing Seafood

Here at Dawson's, our staff are always asked how best to store seafood and how long it will last after purchasing, so we’ve decided to tackle the subject in this blog post to provide you with the answers you seek once and for all!
Generally speaking, we recommend bringing a cooler bag or esky with you when purchasing any kind of seafood as seafood begins to deteriorate when unrefrigerated. This is why fishing trawlers are equipped with refrigeration facilities and once catch is unloaded, it is promptly iced and then transferred into cold storage.
Seafood Storage 101: A Handy Guide
How do I store Live Sydney Rock Oysters?
Unopened or live Sydney Rock Oysters prefer temperatures between 10°c and 15°c. Most household refrigerators sit around 4°c, so ideally unopened or live oysters should be stored in a cool place like a wine fridge or cellar, or a room in your house that is cool. You can put a damp tea towel or cloth on top of live unopened oysters and they will keep for up to ten days, but remember to keep the tea towel damp every day.
 Live Sydney Rock Oysters
How do I store Live Pacific Oysters?
Unopened or live Pacific Oysters prefer temperatures between 5°c and 10°c. Most household refrigerators sit around 4°c, so ideally unopened or live oysters should be stored in a cool place like a wine fridge or cellar, or a room in your house that is cool. You can put a damp tea towel or cloth on top of live unopened oysters and they will keep for up to ten days, but remember to keep the tea towel damp every day.
 Live Pacific Oysters
How do I store Freshly Shucked Oysters?
Once opened, oysters should be eaten within two hours or covered and stored in the fridge. Freshly shucked oysters can last up to 7 days after being shucked and should be stored below 5°c, in the coldest part of your fridge. Ensure they are in an airtight container.
Oysters purchased from Dawson’s will be wrapped in a recyclable plastic tray and can be kept in the tray until consumed. Pro tip: you can return the plastic tray to us in store, and we will give you 15c off your next oyster purchase! We will clean, sanitize, and then reuse the trays in an attempt to reduce our need to purchase this resource.
Freshly Shucked Sydney Rock Oyster with Oyster Knife
What is the best way to store prawns?
Follow these simple storage steps to get the most out of your prawns this festive season:
  • When you get home, remove prawns from their plastic bag.
  • Place prawns in a stainless-steel bowl, colander, or glass container.
  • Cover prawns with ice.
  • Seal the container with plastic wrap or a lid.
  • Avoid letting prawns sit in any excess liquid. Drain as needed to prevent them from becoming waterlogged and replace ice when melted.
  • Store prawns in the coldest part of your fridge, below 5°c. Avoid storing the prawns in the front area of your fridge where temperatures are likely to fluctuate when you open the door.
Both cooked and raw prawns can be kept in your refrigerator from anywhere from 2 – 4 days. When cooked prawns start to deteriorate, you will notice either a flourery or slimy consistencey to the meat depending on the type of prawn, and an overpowering odour. With green prawns, the head of the prawns will start to become very dark. If you notice any of these qualities in your prawns, it is best to discard them.  
Spencer Gulf King Prawns in a bowl with lemon
How should I store Fresh Whole Fish?
At Dawson’s the majority of whole fish we sell is already scaled and gutted for you. If you are purchasing whole fish, ensure it is scaled and gutted, and then place the cleaned fish on a plate, tray or in a container. Wrap the fish in a damp cloth, cover with plastic or a lid and store it in the coldest part of the fridge for up to three days.
Be conscious of the need to keep raw seafood away from any ready to eat foods to prevent bacteria from spreading. Wash cutting boards, knives and hands when handling raw seafood.
Whole Snapper
How should I store Fresh Fish Fillets?
When you get your fish fillets home, remove from the plastic bag and place on a plate, tray or in a container. Wrap your fillets in a clean damp cloth and cover with plastic or a lid. Fresh fish fillets should be stored in the coldest part of the fridge and can be stored for up to three days.
Fish fillets should have a pleasant sea smell, and not an overly fishy odour. Be conscious of the need to keep raw seafood away from any ready to eat foods to prevent bacteria from spreading. Wash cutting boards, knives and hands when handling raw seafood.
Fresh Salmon Fillet
How should I store Crabs, Bugs, Lobsters and Other Crustaceans?
At Dawson’s, we sell a range of cooked crustaceans. Cooked crustaceans are best when consumed within 1-2 days of purchase. While they may remain safe for longer periods, the quality and flavour can degrade over time. To store cooked crustaceans, place them in an airtight container or wrap them tightly in plastic wrap.
If you have removed the shell from your crabs, bugs or lobster, store the in an airtight container. This helps prevent the meat from drying out and absorbing odours from the refrigerator.
Store cooked crustaceans and cooked crustacean meat away from raw seafood and other raw proteins to prevent cross-contamination. Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw and cooked seafood.
Whole Lobster
How should I store live Mud Crabs?  
Live Mud Crabs should be stored in the coolest part of the house, (below 20°C), in a covered container with a damp cloth at the base and ventilation holes in the top. They should be stored for no more than 24 hours.
Live Mud Crab
How should I store live Lobster?  
Live lobsters can be stored in the fridge for up to two days. Cover them with a damp cloth and keep in the coldest part of the refrigerator. If placing them in a box or container, ensure there are air holes.
If you are still not sure how to store your seafood, we are only too happy to advise you in store. Don’t hesitate to ask one of our friendly staff members.
Live Southern Rock Lobster